US small and middle market enterprises (SMEs) who export are optimistic about their global sales potential, according to the 2018 American Express Grow Global Survey. The third annual survey of over 500 domestically based companies selling outside of the US found that nine out of ten (90%) see international markets as a major growth opportunity. Exporters expect short- and long-term increases: 75% predict that the percentage of their company’s total revenue from exported goods or services will increase over the next 12 months and 76% expect growth over the next five years. These exporters are also optimistic about forecasting future revenues, with 30% anticipating that the revenue their company derives from exports will increase by more than 50% over the next five years, up from only 18% who projected this level of increase in 2017.
While US SMEs who export are optimistic about international opportunities, more than two-thirds (71%) said that changing global economics are a significant challenge. Exporters expressed caution due to uncertainty around trade agreements (39%) and US trade policies (38%). Over the past 12 months, many exporters changed their exporting strategy due to trade agreements and policies (32%) as well as political instability (28%).
Despite their concerns around the global trade landscape, exporters are investing in their international operations. Respondents report that, on average, they invest 36% of their annual sales and marketing budget into entering and growing international markets.
Research findings are based on a survey conducted by Morar HPI fielded across the US between 17-19 July 2018. The survey queried 528 full-time employees with decision making authority at companies ranging in size from US$250,000 to less than US$1bn in annual revenues, who report that a portion of their company’s annual revenue is currently derived from the sale of goods or services outside of the US.